The NBA finished off another busy weekend of basketball on Sunday. Monday night picks up again with eleven games of action. One of the games includes a rematch of last season’s playoff series between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I expect an exciting game as both teams will look to take the first game of this season’s series.
Utah has started the season with a 13-14 record, which has them the thirteenth place of the Western Conference. The Jazz had a tough loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night. Utah has been playing well as of late though. They have won four of their last six games. The Jazz will look to get back in the win column with a bounce-back win on Monday night.
The Thunder have begun this season with a 16-8 record. Oklahoma City is currently sitting in second place of the Western Conference standings. The Thunder lost their last game on the road against the Chicago Bulls. Oklahoma City has won six of their last eight games this season. The Thunder will look to get some revenge for last season’s playoff series loss.
Monday night’s game will mark the first matchup between the Jazz and the Thunder this season. Utah and Oklahoma City will meet three more times this season on December 22, February 22 and March 11. Both teams had some intense games in last season’s playoff series, which makes me believe that Monday night’s game will be an intense game.
Last Season’s Matchups
The Jazz and the Thunder met up a total of four times during the regular season last season. Utah hosted the first matchup between these two teams. Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points, while Paul George dropped 22 for Oklahoma City. Joe Ingles had 19 points for the Jazz. Ricky Rubio and Rudy Gobert each scored 16 more points to give Utah a 96-87 win.
The second game of the season series was hosted by Oklahoma City. Donovan Mitchell had a huge night, dropping 31 points, but it was not enough. Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists. Paul George had another 21 points to help give the Thunder a 100-94 win.
The Thunder hosted the third game of the season series. Rodney Hood led the Jazz in points with 17. Only two other players were able to score double-digit points for Utah, which led to a rough night. Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 10 rebounds in Oklahoma City’s win. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony each scored 18 in route to a 107-79 win.
The final game of the season series was hosted in Utah. Donovan Mitchell had another really good night, dropping 29 on the Thunder, but once again it was not enough. Russell Westbrook recorded another triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Paul George scored another 26 to help give Oklahoma City a 103-89 win.
While the Thunder were able to take the season series 3-1, Oklahoma City could not take the series that mattered most. In the playoffs, these two teams met up and the Jazz were able to move on after a 4-2 series win. This is still fresh in the mind of many Thunder players and I believe that this will add some extra motivation for Oklahoma City.
Donovan Mitchell has jumped out to a fast start for the Jazz this season. Mitchell has averaged 21 points per game this season. Rudy Gobert is playing really well at the Center spot. He is averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds per game this season. Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles are both averaging around 13 points per game this season.
The duo of Russell Westbrook and Paul George have been the leaders for Oklahoma City once again. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double again this season with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists per game. George has averaged 24 points and 8 rebounds per game to this point in the season. Dennis Schroder has been great as the Thunder’s sixth man. He is averaging 16.5 points per game. Steven Adams has been playing well at the Center spot, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.
There are plenty of matchups to watch out for in Monday night’s game. Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell will see plenty of defense against Russell Westbrook and Paul George. This could be a real pivotal matchup as Westbrook and George are the Thunder’s best scorers. I do not believe that Rubio and Mitchell will be able to shut them both down. Steven Adams will meet up against Rudy Gobert in the paint, where I believe Gobert owns the edge.
Oklahoma City is looking to get some revenge for last season’s playoff series loss on Monday night. I believe that the Thunder will have the edge in the backcourt, which could lead to a big night. To pull off a win on the road, I believe the Jazz will need a really solid defensive performance. Oklahoma City has been the better team this season and I believe it will show on Monday night.
BetOnline has the Thunder listed as a -6 against the spread. Utah is coming off a game on Sunday night, which makes me believe they may be a little tired on Monday night’s game. This could lead to a slow start for the Jazz. The Thunder will be playing this game with two days of rest. Like I said, Oklahoma City will be looking for some revenge, which makes me believe they will come out fast. I am taking the Thunder against the spread at home.